The most celebrated detective duo in years is back on the case. Nathaniel Parker (Far from the Madding Crowd) and Sharon Small (About A Boy) return as the New Scotland Yard team of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers in four riveting murder mysteries that take them from seedy urban underbellies to posh country estates in search of whodunit. The misfit tandem of the suave Inspector and the rumpled Sergeant has evolved from cultural rivalry into a successful team of close friends and confidantes. But solving murders isn’t their only problem. In addition to his puzzling caseload, Lynley struggles with his blossoming relationship with Helen (Lesley Vickerage), while Havers grapples with both newfound personal freedom and professional challenges. Inspired by a string of successful cases, Lynley and Havers unravel a fresh caseload of heinous, suspenseful crimes, each based on a novel by Elizabeth George. Playing For The Ashes The murder of a beloved sports star leads to a loaded lineup of key suspects and bizarre twists. Without much cooperation from a dysfunctional family and other odd "players," Lynley and Havers break the rules to tease the killer out of hiding. In the Presence of the Enemy The abduction and killing of a Government minister’s daughter brings Lynley into a lethal web of political and personal unrest. But after another child is kidnapped, the pair must decipher the deceit and pinpoint the murderer to stop a second senseless killing. A Suitable Vengeance When a local shopkeeper is found dead, a celebration of the Inspector’s engagement to Helen at his impressive family estate becomes a murder investigation. But the biggest surprise is the key suspect: Lynley’s drug-addict brother, Peter. Deception on His Mind While Lynley is honeymooning in Mexico, the body of a young Asian man is found on the beach, leading to a trail of racial tensions, family loyalties and illicit sexuality. Havers, after discovering an old police school chum is on the case, sets off to ensnare the killer. Special DVD features include: link to the Mystery! Web site; scene selections; and closed captions. On four DVD5 discs. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.
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The Inspector Lynley Mysteries 2 finds the mismatched police detectives from Elizabeth George's novels somewhat more harmonious than in their previous quartet of BBC/PBS dramas. While aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and his working class, protégée-partner Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (Sharon Small) maintain a shaky trust, they develop a firm regard and respect for one another, even making small inroads into each other's personal lives. Not that romance is in the air: One can spot the occasional wistful look on their faces, but the emerging intimacy between Lynley and Havers has more to do with sharing tough times in the trenches of murder investigations.
Playing for the Ashes concerns the killing of a respected cricket star and the strange constellation of suspects directly or indirectly connected to him, including an estranged wife, an angry lover, a maternal philanthropist and her streetwalker daughter, an untrustworthy agent, and a network of animal-liberation activists. Lynley and Havers find, not surprisingly, that looking into a high-profile murder is a slow and hazardous venture; all the more so in In the Presence of the Enemy, a tense thriller about a kidnapped girl whose abductor demands that a powerful newspaper editor publicly confess he is the child's secret father. While Lynley searches for clues in London, Havers teams with an eager detective in a small town and is instantly uneasy about the latter's emotionally unbalanced mother and girlfriend. A Suitable Vengeance is set deep within the intrigues of Lynley's wealthy family. Havers shows up as a guest at her partner's Cornwall estate to help celebrate Lynley's wedding engagement, but is soon navigating old grudges between family members when Lynley's drug-addicted brother becomes a suspect in the death of a shopkeeper. Finally, Deception on His Mind strains Lynley and Havers's relationship a bit when the latter's investigation of the murder of a Pakistani man is called into question by an old chum. A harrowing climax leaves enough ethical and narrative ambiguity to make one yearn for more in the Lynley-Havers series. --Tom Keogh
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